Clitoral Anatomy 101

Clitoral shaped passion fruit half in woman's hand

Ah, the clitoris. The holy grail of genitals. The mythical beast that everyone seems to be searching for like some erotic bullseye.

You might be the owner of a clit or a lover of them or both. In any case, you likely know the clit as the tiny little pleasure button at the top of the vagina. But the clit isn’t just that little dippin’ dot that everyone seems to have such a hard time finding. The clit is a multifaceted character with a myriad of parts. 

So take my hand, and let’s take a deep dive into the beautiful topography of The Clit.

The Stuff You Can See

Most of what we assume is the clitoris is what we can see. And while these aren’t the only parts of the clitoris, they are certainly important. Here’s a brief (but essential) overview:

Glans Clitoris or “The Button”

You know her, you love her, and you recognize her. In other words, this is the part of the clit that you KNOW is the clitoris. It’s that little nubbin that sex therapists of yore called “The Button” and most of us just call The Clit. The Glans Clitoris is the front-facing part of the whole operation: it’s the only external part of the clit, but as we’ll soon learn, it is but the tip of the iceberg. It’s usually about the size of a pea, although it varies from body to body.

This little baby is located right above the urethra. It’s famous for a reason—this is the part of the clit with the most nerve endings. There are about 8,000 sensory nerve endings to be exact. This is the most sensitive part of the clitoris and it’s where you can feel a lot of sexy stuff. Research is conflicting about whether or not this little baby contains erectile tissue,  but in most bodies, it enlarges with sexual arousal. 

Clitoral Hood or “The Hood”

Just above or on top of the glans is the clitoral hood. This is the protector of the glans clitoris, formed by the two sides of the Labia Majora: they meet in the middle to protect the goods. The clitoral hood helps to protect the glans clitoris, which can be especially important to maintain all those sensitive nerve endings! Much like the Labia Majora, the clitoral hood varies greatly in size, shape, colorations, and how much of the glans clitoris it covers. We love a customizable hood!

All The Stuff You Can’t See

Ready for a surprise? The majority of the clitoris is located internally, and therefore not visible. Generally, these parts are described as the body of the clitoris.

From the glans, the clitoris actually splits in half, forming the Crus and the vestibular bulbs of the clitoris. (There are so many words crammed into that little pleasure center, aren’t there?) Here are some of the crucial, not-so-visible parts of this clit.

The Crus of the Clitoris or “The Legs”

The Crus of the clitoris are the little wishbone shaped legs that emanate from the glans on those super fun diagrams. The crus flank the urethra and vagina, and extend back towards the pubic bone, attaching to the pubic arch, the vestibular bulbs, and the corpus cavernosum of clitoris.

Now here’s the fun part: the crus are in fact made of erectile tissue. So during sexual arousal the crus (and the other part of the clitoris that include erectile tissue) become engorged with blood, increasing sensitivity. Thank you crus!

Vestibular Bulbs or “The Clitoral Bulbs”

The vestibular bulbs are yet another stockpile of erectile tissue in the clitoris. They lie internally, right beneath the labia majora. These bulbs of erectile tissue lie next to the crura on either side of the urethra or vaginal opening, but they extend even further into the body: extending behind the labia, flanking the urethra, the vaginal canal, and extending towards the anus.

During arousal, they get engorged with blood, causing swelling on either side of the vaginal canal, causing increased sexual stimulation and increasing lubrication in the vagina. 

Corpora Cavernosa or “The Fun Station”

While not officially called “The Fun Station,” this little area of the clitoris is worth the detail. Corpora Cavernosa is the sponge-like region of erectile tissues that contains most of the blood sent to the clitoris during clitoral erection. They’re located right near the top of the wishbone-shaped crus, and they’re very very good to us. Say thank you and hello.

How to Love It

Now that you know all of the intricacies of the powerhouse of pleasure that is the beloved clitoris, why not take it for a spin? Clitoral stimulation is the most common way to achieve orgasm. Here at Sex With Emily, you know we love to employ the help of an often electric, vibrating friend. To maximize the orgasmic potential of the clit, try the classic clit vibe, the Mimi by Je Joue. With its silky soft exterior and powerful motor, it’s the perfect way to celebrate masturbation and take your clit to town.

No matter if you’re a newbie to the clitoris, or a proud owner of one, there’s always something new to learn about the clit. Happy exploring!

Tessa Skara is a writer and comedian. She is bravely bicoastal. She loves all things queer, including, but not limited to sex. Follow her on Instagram @tessafuckinskara.